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Western military official says Qurans burnt at US base in Kabul 'contained extremist messages'

Kabul , Wed, 22 Feb 2012 ANI

Kabul, Feb 22 (ANI): Muslim holy books that were burnt at a US military base in Afghanistan contained extremist inscriptions, a western military official has said.


The military official said it appeared the Qurans and other Islamic readings were being used to fuel extremism, and that detainees at the Parwan Detention Facility were exchanging extremist messages through these books.


The military official said that several hundred Islamic publications, including Qurans, were removed from the library.


Some of the publications had extremist content, others had extremist messages on their pages, the official said, adding that the documents were charred and burnt, but that none of them were completely destroyed.


Over 2,000 angry Afghans demonstrated against the burning of the holy books in a pile of garbage at Bagram Air Field, a sprawling US base in Kabul.


The incident stoked anti-foreign sentiments and fueled the arguments of Afghans who claim foreign troops are not respectful of their culture or Islamic religion, CBS News reports.


Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has apologized for the "deeply unfortunate incident," saying it doesn't reflect the respect the US military has for the religious practices of the Afghan people.


US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also said that he disapproved of the conduct, and promised to review the results of the coalition's investigation to ensure that all steps are taken to prevent it from happening again.


US General John Allen, the top commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, also apologized to the Afghan people and said the books were inadvertantly given to troops for burning.


"It was not a decision that was made because they were religious materials. It was not a decision that was made with respect to the faith of Islam. It was a mistake. It was an error. The moment we found out about it we immediately stopped and we intervened," Allen told NATO TV. (ANI)


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